Vern Hanzlik, President and CEO at Qumu
Imagine a world where companies can record, archive and stream every Skype for Business meeting with the click of a button and with no negative impact on its technology infrastructure? In our July edition, CEO Today introduces you to a platform that does this. As the demand for enterprise video skyrockets, organizations (particularly within the Global 2000) are increasingly being expected to provide high-quality live and on demand video to any device, at any time, and with a virtually unlimited number of concurrent users—both behind the firewall and in the cloud…and it’s all about the user experience. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Qumu, the leading enterprise video content management platform, aims at putting the right elements in place to enable a flawless CEO broadcast, and allow employees to create and share video assets with each other in minutes, using everyday tools on their own devices.
‘Unified Communication’ is the merging of real-time enterprise communication with non-real-time enterprise communication, for delivery on the same platform. When you consider how much enterprise communication is already video-based—corporate training, e-Learning, employee onboarding, sales enablement, marketing, product demonstrations, user manuals, executive addresses, etc. — corporate needs for enterprise video management are growing and will continue to grow exponentially. This is where the Qumu technology fits into the enterprise software space.
To learn more about the platform, CEO Today reached out to its President and CEO – Vern Hanzlik, who’s been in the enterprise software industry for almost three decades. Prior to joining Qumu in November 2012, Vern’s was the President/CEO and co-founder of a company called Stellent Inc., which was sold to Oracle in 2006, for $440 million. He’s also previously been the president of Sajan Software and the president of TEAM Informatics.
Vern has a firm grasp of what it takes to drive double-digit annual growth within an enterprise technology firm from a tactical standpoint, but one of his primary focuses is culture. Since joining Qumu, he has developed and regularly promotes the company’s five core values—Innovation, Transparency, Accountability, Mindfulness and Collaboration – believing that the key to exponential company growth starts in these five areas. Here, Vern tells CEO Today more about his work with Qumu and his aspirations for the future.
Qumu is a leading provider of tools to create, manage, secure, distribute and measure the success of both live and recorded enterprise video– what else can you tell us about the company? What are its ethics and priorities towards its clients?
Qumu uses its technology platform to make unified communications video (Skype for Business, WebEx), social business video (Jive, IBM Connections, Yammer), executive addresses, training assets and marketing assets available to tens of thousands of concurrent users—on premise, in the cloud, or both at the same time.
Many of the world’s largest companies leverage the Qumu platform for their video-based assets, including Visa, Toyota, AT&T, Bayer, Dow, Vodafone, MasterCard, CVS, KPMG and many more. The company is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota with additional locations in San Francisco, London and Hyderabad.
As mentioned above, our company culture centres around five core values—Innovation, Transparency, Accountability, Mindfulness and Collaboration. And we don’t just apply these values to employees, they are truly a roadmap for interfacing with our customers as well. Positive customer feedback is a significant motivating force at Qumu—our customers push us every day to improve our products, our service, our sales process and even the way we market.
Under these values our current customer satisfaction rate is over 98%, and our customers openly and willingly offer us to their peers, who appreciate our platform and our after-sale service. Our customer reviews are loaded with phrases like “best enterprise video platform in the industry” and “present in every step of the way.”Our customers push us every day to improve our products, our service, our sales process and even the way we market.
What are the main concerns and aspects you must consider when working with big clients, such as Visa, Toyota and Vodafone?
When working with the Global 2000, as Qumu does, the number one concern in many cases is data security—particularly when dealing with healthcare, government regulated industries and banking. Qumu provides the best enterprise video platform in the industry in that regard, and we regularly and willingly submit to third-party security verification at the request of our customers.
Another big consideration is what is referred to as “Extensibility” of the platform. To put it simply, large enterprises have complex video environments, and are constantly trying to integrate and manage a multiplying number of both video sources and video destinations. To assist in that effort, the Qumu solution has been developed to work with Collaboration and Unified Communication technologies from other vendors. The bottom line is, a highly extensible video platform capable of integrating with other widely used enterprise software is critical to developing what most of these large companies are seeking—a true “Digital Workplace.” And without the Qumu enterprise video platform, you don’t really have that.
What is your previous experience and how do you draw on this in your current role?
As mentioned previously, I’ve spent most of my career in the enterprise software space. I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience over the years, but the most valuable one has been co-founding my own enterprise software company—literally from nothing—and selling it to Oracle 15 years later. Being on the inside of a growth environment like that, and watching a company expand from zero dollars in annual revenue to almost nine figures annually, was more valuable than any experience I could have imagined at the time or even today.
And of course, there are parallels in my past experience to Qumu, which I have been using every step of the way. I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but I will say – finding your company’s identity is key. Deciding who you are, what you want to offer and how you want to message it, then focusing on that. In the technology industry, it is particularly easy to get distracted when things change as rapidly as they do. My focus right now as President and CEO is to align Product Strategy, Development, Sales, Marketing and Customer Support toward the same goals. Once everyone in the organization agrees where the company is headed, the rest will fall into place if the product is good. And in our case, the product is the best.
What is your overall mission for the company? How do you ensure this mission is upheld?
The mission at Qumu is to generate significant growth by providing organizations with the most extensible, secure and comprehensive enterprise video platform we can deliver. And to uphold this mission, we actively seek the best technologies, the best employees, the best partners and the best customers. On the customer side, we actively work with visionary CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and CMOs who see the evolution of video coming, and choose to be proactive before their internal needs for video outpace their company’s ability to handle it.
Above and beyond that, the employees at Qumu are truly the foundation of our company. Every department at Qumu is loaded to the top with smart people who care—people willing to own their roles, reimagine old ways of doing things, take risks, and do whatever they can to be the best. When you have the quality of people Qumu has on staff, success and ultimately growth come much easier. They make executing my overall mission for the company easy, and I truly mean that.
When working in an industry that is constantly changing, what do you do to ensure that you are at the forefront of any emerging developments?
Enterprise video is one of the most complex and multi-faceted technologies an organization can invest in. With this in mind, staying on top of emerging developments is key. If our knowledge is outdated, our customers and potential customers have no hope of staying current. That said, at Qumu, we prefer to drive innovation as opposed to attempt to keep up with it. Between our customers, potential customers, partners, employees and of course, the industry analyst community, we do everything we can to predict market and technology shifts before they happen.
In the most recent Gartner analysis of the Enterprise Video space, Qumu was ranked first out of 15 competitors in both Executive Messaging and Internal Collaboration—two technologies we were developing long before they had official industry classifications. Again, the key is driving innovation versus sitting back and letting it drive you.
What does the future hold for you and Qumu? Do you have any upcoming plans or projects you would be willing to share with us?
If things continue in the direction they’re heading with Qumu, and with the industry as a whole, we expect to triple in size over the next handful of years. Between expansion of our reach into the Global 2000, creation of cloud-based offerings for mid-sized companies, and strategic partnerships with some of the largest technology companies on the planet, Qumu is poised for exponential growth in the short to medium-term.
In terms of new things to share, our product focus in the near term is around a new platform we are calling Qx. A software platform in a corporate environment must have the ability to grow with the organization, and our new Qx service-based extensible architecture offers open APIs to make our video platform easier for third party developers to add extensions. Qumu’s seamless integration with Microsoft 365, Skype for Business, Jive and other collaboration tools are a direct result of our extensible architecture, and key to Qumu being a true “unifying” enterprise video platform that can deliver cloud, on-premise and hybrid configurations to customers across the globe. This is an exciting time for Qumu, and for the enterprise video industry as a whole.